A Few Reasons to Keep Watching the Anaheim Ducks

Let's be honest: There's not much left to play for this season. Entering play on Sunday, the Ducks are 11 points out with 10 games left. Unless something biblical happens, they're probably going to be in store for a looooonnnnggg off-season (as a Ducks blogger, I can tell you that as much as it sucks not watching your team in the playoffs, trying to find something compelling to write about once a week for that extra few weeks is even worse). And even though it makes all sorts of logical sense, I can't get behind the lose-all-remaining-games-to-improve-draft-position mentality.

With that in mind, I'm taking a different tack. Here's a look at some of the statistical milestones that Ducks players may be able to reach over the next 10 games. Without much else to look forward to, I'm hoping our guys will still have enough fight to hit some of these benchmarks.

Note: All stats before play on 3/18/12

Bobby Ryan: 30 Goals

It’s been a disappointing season for number 9, but amazingly, he’s only four goals away from hitting the 30-goal mark for the fourth straight year. Since the lockout, only three players have managed to score 30 or more goals in four consecutive years: Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla, and Phil Kessel. For a player that is often criticized for his inconsistency, hitting this mark once again is remarkably consistent, especially when you consider that the lion’s share of Bobby’s goals during that time have come at even strength.

Corey Perry: 60 Points

While Perry has also struggled this season (though admittedly not to the degree of anyone else on the team save Teemu Selanne), he is only five points away from cracking the 60-point mark for the fourth straight year and the fourth time in his career. Perry also stands 6 PIM under 100, and this would mark the first time since 2006-2007 where he recorded fewer than 100 penalty minutes.

Ryan Getzlaf: 10 Goals

This may seem like a joke, but since he’s been a professional, Getzlaf has never scored fewer than 14 goals in a season and has never ended a year with a single-digit total. Though Getz is primarily a center and relies on his passing acumen to accumulate points, he has shown the ability in the past to bury pucks when given the chance. Getzlaf’s current 5.6% shooting percentage is the worse in his career by a long shot, as his previous low in this category was 11% in 2008-2009.

Teemu Selanne: 1,409 Career Points

In what could be his last season, the Finnish Flash has continued to climb the NHL’s all-time points and goal charts. After recently passing his boyhood idol Jari Kurri, Selanne sits only seven points way from tying Dale Hawerchuk for 18th on the list of most career points. Teemu is currently 10 goals away from cracking the top-10 in career goals (Luc Robitaille has 668), but if we’ve learned anything from watching Teemu these past few years, the seemingly impossible is always within reach.

Andrew Cogliano: 30 Points

When Cogliano was acquired over the summer, several of us opined that if Cogs could accumulate 30 points this season, he’d be pulling his weight. As of right now, Cogliano sits at 25 points, so this mark is certainly still within reach. While 30 points seems like a relatively paltry total for a forward, keep in mind that Brandon McMillan had the most points of any non-top-6 forward last season with 21. In fact, Anaheim hasn’t had a non-top-6 forward crack the 25-point mark in the last five seasons.

Cam Fowler: 30 points

Like most of the Ducks, the young defenseman has had a season he’d just as soon forget. Though his points lag behind the mark of 40 he set last season, Cam is only three points away from hitting 30 for 2011-2012. While it would be a Pyrrhic victory (and truthfully, I’d rather see that ugly -20 number come up more than anything else), hitting 30 could give Cam some degree of satisfaction after this ugly season.

Jonas Hiller: 70 Games Played

Coming into this season, the health of Jonas Hiller was one of the biggest, if not the most important, questions to be answered. After a mediocre start to the season in which he was often hung out to dry by his defense, Hiller has resumed the Vezina-caliber play he displayed at the beginning of last year. That said, Jonas’ durability has always been somewhat of a question. Hiller’s previous high in games played was 59 in 2009-2010. He’s already exceeded that mark this year with 66 games played (while also establishing the Ducks’ mark for consecutive starts for a goaltender), and hitting the 70-games plateau would go a long way toward settling any questions about Hiller’s ability to carry the full load as a number-one goalie.

Have I missed any benchmarks you can think of? Which of these do you think is the most impressive/most important for the team moving forward? [Ed. Note: After last night's loss, the Ducks 'tragic number' is 7]

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